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College Steps (Connecticut College)

College Steps (Connecticut College)
Connecticut College
College Steps (Connecticut College)
270 Mohegan Avenue
New London, CT 06320
Program Contact Brya Emery
Phone 8887321022

College Steps is a non-profit organization partnered with Connecticut College to support students with social, communication, or learning challenges (including but not limited to students with significant learning disabilities, autism, developmental, or intellectual disabilities), ages 16-26, as they transition to college.

The mission of College Steps is to expand supports for young adults with the functional skills sufficient to transition to a college environment, but who remain challenged to succeed and thrive in this adult learning setting without additional supports.

College Steps is committed to transition services, and specializes in preparing students for meaningful careers, higher education, and autonomy after graduation. We place strong emphasis on inclusion, self-advocacy, employment, and independent living skills and aim to provide high quality educational support for students who are interested in pursuing a college primer experience during their transition year(s) in high school. In addition to the high school transition model, College Steps also offers contracted support hours for college students enrolled at participating colleges and the option of a two-year certificate program for students (ages 18-26) interested in receiving a college experience and job training on a college campus.

Our students are supported by one of our full-time program coordinators and are mentored by fully matriculated college students. The majority of the day-to-day support students receive is through their work with the peer mentors, which allows for a truly inclusive environment and is one of the features of our model we are most proud of. College Steps students typically spend 25 hours per week on campus, take 1-2 courses per semester, and would be considered tuition paying non-matriculated students.

College Steps is able to partner with virtually any college or university that emphasizes inclusively and is interested in opening its doors to this unique and novel supportive learning model. Our program is offered at no cost to our collegiate partners and offers a wonderful opportunity for matriculated students to take part in a valuable mentoring experience. Finally, a small class size of up to 10 students per year allows our staff to fully meet the needs of the scholars.

College Steps is currently partnered with twelve colleges and universities across New England and the Mid Atlantic and is sustainably developing at least two new partnerships per year. If you feel there is a need in your community that has yet to be filled or if you are interested in one of our existing programs, please reach out to us.

Brya Emery, Director of Admissions

Public or private: Public
Type of school: 4-year college or university
Is this program a federally funded TPSID program? No
Students in this program:
  • Have graduated or exited from high school
  • Are still enrolled in high school
Number of students: 88
School district or agency partner: Various Area School Districts
Deadline to apply to this program: May 1st
Requirements for admission to this program:
  • College Steps offers college support for students living with social, communication, or learning challenges. We offer programs for three primary categories of students: 1. High school seniors, ages 16-22, interested in gaining a college experience during their senior year in high school. 2. Enrolled college students who are entering into, or already operating within, the college setting but for whom navigating college is challenged by social, academic, or independent living barriers. 3. Returning college students under the age of 26 years, interested in earning a two-year Certificate in higher education.
Accepts out-of-state students?: Yes
Please indicate which disabilities students in this program have:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism
  • Individuals living with social, communication, or learning challenges (e.g., significant learning disabilities, autism, developmental, or intellectual disabilities)
Program length: Varies from student to student
Acceptance, Retention, and Completion Rates
Cost of the program: College Steps at Connecticut College has several levels of support available, ranging from $11,800 - $20,900 per year for program fees. Tuition is an additional cost.
Is this program able to provide federal financial aid as a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP)? No
Students pay for the program in the following ways:
  • Private pay (student and family)
  • Tuition Waivers
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Funds
  • Scholarships
  • Adult intellectual/developmental disability state agency funds
  • Local School District funds
  • Federal Financial Aid
  • Grant Funding
  • Medicaid Waiver or Day Habilitation funds
Students take these types of "typical" courses (with students who don't have disabilities):
  • Typical college courses for credit
  • Typical college courses for audit
More about course access:

No two learning styles are the same. Therefore, academic support is customized to the student’s preferences and needs. The College Steps team first works closely with each student and family to understand and identify areas of academic challenge and then collaboratively creates an individualized academic support program perfectly calibrated to respond.

Tangible Skills - Areas may include in-classroom support with note taking, group participation support, study skills sessions, time management guidance, test taking strategies, and homework support.

Mentor Model - Via College Steps’ model of peer-based support, much of the academic enrichment College Steps provides is offered through College Steps’ award-winning peer mentor system.

Campus Connection - On each of the campuses in which we partner, College Steps also works in close collaboration with Student Support Services, Disability Services, Academic Advising and Campus Tutoring to ensure optimal supports are in place and seamless communication occurs.

Time spent only with other students in this program: Less than 25% of the time
Credential(s) students earn upon completing the program: Certificate of Achievement in Higher Education
The credential(s) is/are: Approved by Institute of Higher Education
Percent of students in this program have paid work while attending the program: 55%
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Community Service
Percent of students in this program that had paid work after exiting the program: 85%
Housing is provided to students: No
Students participate in student organizations on campus: Yes
Proportion of time spent only with other students in this program: Less than 25%
Students have participated in these social/extracurricular activities and organizations:

For many students, the prospect of cultivating new social connections in college can feel intimidating. Yet social and extracurricular involvement in college is shown to be a key element of student overall success and happiness.

Peer Mentors - College Steps offers students the support of our peer mentor network. Peer mentors are there to lend a hand and help College Steps students feel more comfortable as they navigate the college social network. Peer mentors are carefully selected, trained, and closely supervised by College Steps’ professional staff.

Social Inclusion - The peer mentor network is central to College Steps’ natural support model and has proven to be a vital component in helping guide College Steps students through the nuances of social life on campus, including forging friendships and encouraging involvement in new social activities. Peer Mentors help link College Steps students to the social element of college life via introduction to new clubs, activities, social groups, extracurricular events, and weekend activities.

Social Support - College Steps also incorporates more structured social learning opportunities via an evidence-based curriculum focusing on the advancement of social cognition, social awareness, and social thinking.

Last updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 - 09:13